On July 13, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) did something notable and relevant to caregivers. The agency is proposing to establish a new payment program for caregiver training.

Why is this so important for caregivers? Historically, CMS has limited Medicare coverage and payment to items and services that are “reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of an individual Medicare patient’s illness or injury.” Now, CMS is acknowledging the important role caregivers have in a patient’s overall care. CMS believes that, in certain circumstances, caregivers can play a key role in developing and carrying out the treatment plan established for the patient by the treating practitioner. CMS is also broadening the definition of what is a caregiver to individuals who – like MANY Daughterhood members – are “assisting or acting as a proxy for a patient with an illness or condition of short or long-term duration; involved on an episodic, daily, or occasional basis in managing a patient’s complex health care and assistive technology activities at home; and helping to navigate the patient’s transitions between care settings.”

So what does this mean?

This is huge. Caregivers are starting to get the official recognition as an integral part of care teams. Stay tuned for actions that we can all take so that caregivers make the most out of this historic moment.